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A Day in the Life: Working From Home With Toddlers (During Winter and Isolation)

Working From Home With Toddlers

For the last year or so, I’ve received countless requests for a daily schedule but most days, we’re just trying to get by. The honest truth is that we don’t have a ton of structure beyond meals and Kate’s naps. Margot spends most of the winter in pajamas and it’s just not a battle I’m willing to have. It felt like -7 with wind chill. Where are we going?

From March 2020 until April 2021, my husband and I were with our girls and both took time off to get our older daughter through Leukemia treatment. We found an amazing unicorn nanny last April, and had a few planned breaks around events for her, so she was off most of September, and has been off since Christmas (but returns next week). It’s been nice to have a few slower weeks with the girls, especially around the holidays, but I’m ready to get back into a routine.

I want to be the mom with a set schedule and a ton of activities planned for the girls but more often than not, we just play. I’m not sure how helpful this is since this isn’t what a normal day looks like, but I decided to just go for it, and will write down our weekend schedule Saturday and/or Sunday, too. Conor isn’t especially busy this week and I can slow down while our nanny is off, so it’s just a lot of cleaning, playing and working far later than I should.

A Day in the Life: Working From Home With Toddlers (During Winter and Isolation)

If you are someone who actually wanted to read this, please tell me what I could include that might be helpful because this seems…not helpful. But alas, here it is. 

Working From Home With Toddlers during winter

Flash cards (and some favorite toys) linked in this post

7:30

Kate woke up. She’s often up before 7AM, so we really enjoyed “sleeping in.” I poured some milk for her and we played with some of her wooden stacker toys, and read a book.

7:45

Margot wakes up. She almost always wakes up closer to 7 so not normal but wonderful. She insists on having mom come in for a snuggle. So Conor stays with Kate and I go up. She likes to have a cup of milk and a Once Upon a Farm strawberry pouch before breakfast so we always do that in the morning. We all sit together in the living room and a little after 8AM, Conor starts making breakfast for the girls. 

8:15

Breakfast for the girls and more coffee for us. He made eggs and french toast. Kate had berries and Margot had a banana. About 10 minutes in, Kate starts telling me she’s done but she hasn’t eaten much, so I turn on a video to get girls to keep eating. Like I said, just trying to get by. 

9:00

Margot takes her meds, we brush teeth, and play in the living room. Some mornings, we go down to the basement. No one gets dressed. 

9:30

Conor gets a workout in and takes a shower while I play with the girls for an hour. I turn the Moana soundtrack on our google nest and get to relax on chaise for most of that hour because they are miraculously playing independently (and playing so nicely together). This never happens. We have a bunch of baskets of toys and a little farmer’s market stand. I helped set a few things up and let them do their thing. 

10:30

Conor comes down. We give the girls some fruit and cheddar bunnies. I record part of a sponsored reel. It’s coming together a little bit at a time which will make sense when you see it in the next week or two. 

10:45

Conor takes the girls down to the basement and I sign on the computer to do a little work. I had an 11:00 call with our pediatrician to talk about Kate’s 18 month appointment since we can’t bring her into a doctor’s office with the pandemic being so bad. It’s a whole thing because Kate can’t receive live vaccines while Margot is in treatment (crazy, right?) and I just wanted to chat through a plan and make sure we were ok to ride this wave out. She’s not worried. I’m no longer worried. We’ll check in next month. 

I end up doing some work and Conor comes up with the girls for lunch. 

11:45

Conor made eggs for us and we prepped lunch for the girls. 

12:00

We give the girls lunch. I should add that I keep getting requests about what the girls eat but Margot has an extremely limited palette from chemo so I don’t plan to share more about meals. I will say that Kate ate half my eggs so I made myself some chicken, peppers, and onions with a little organic fajita seasoning. 

12:30

Conor takes Kate up for her afternoon nap and I stay downstairs with Margot. I end up cleaning up living room toys eat lunch, and call a friend to say hi while Margot plays. 

1:00

Kate hasn’t fallen asleep so I go up to rock her. She was out in 5 minutes. Conor takes Margot into her room for an hour of quiet time. She does not nap but will play with toys while listening to her tonies in bed. 

1:15

Work on this blog post. Conor empties dishwasher and cleans kitchen.

2:00

Publish post and get Margot out of her room. Conor’s mom has been isolating and tested so she can see us this week, so she stops by for a visit. She hangs out with Margot and I continue to work. We go over house plans and abinet/floor finishes for the coach house. 

2:45

Kate wakes up. Play with the girls, sweep/dust, change Margot’s sheets, switch out laundry. 

3:45

Conor has been doing yoga and I decided to see if I could find a CorePower class online and I did! I don’t love working out at home but am trying to get into a groove here – this is my 3rd workout in the last 4 days and it was my favorite home workout to date. I took C2 in our bedroom so I’d be out of the way, and it was wonderful. 

4:45

Quick shower and then head downstairs for dinner. 

5:00

Join girls for dinner. They’re having pizza, pesto, and vegetables. We do usually all eat together but I never prepped dinner. It’s fine. No one seemed to notice, but it’s best / preferred when we all eat together even though 5PM is painfully early.

5:30

I take Kate up for her bath. Margot is still eating so Conor stays with her. We switch off when that happens, and I needed some Katertot time. Margot comes up for her bath just as Kate is finishing up. I get Kate in her PJs and take her downstairs for some milk and snuggles. Conor gets on the computer to do some work so the girls and I watch a little Moana, play, and read books, too. She’s really into Duck and Goose, and all the Lovevery books that came with our montessori subscription. 

Home With Toddlers during isolation

6:45

Conor takes Kate up to bed and I take Margot up with me. I finish putting her laundry away while she plays, we brush teeth, read Bear Came Along (it’s so sweet) and snuggle. We switch off every night so each of the girls get stories and snuggles with mom and dad, but now that Kate is going to bed closer to 7, we’ll probably start reading books together. Conor gets Kate down and comes in to read a book with us. I snuggle Margot, and she’s asleep by 7:15. 

7:15

I make some chicken and roasted sweet potatoes, and sign on my computer for a little bit. I work on some posts and make a reel since Margot finishes treatment in 199 days! 

10:59

So much for doing “a little” work. I am just signing off now, throw final load of laundry in the dryer, and need go to sleep. 

Ok, seriously. There’s no way this was helpful. Are you all just hoping for a list of toddler toys and activities? There’s no “how do you do it” because the short answer is I get 2-3 hours of work in a day while they are awake max, and until this week, was barely working out. We’re all doing our best. 

11 comments
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  • This is so so helpful! I think if nothing else it helps validate the mundane parts of the day staying at home with little ones. (And fitting in moments of self-care too). Thank you for sharing!

  • Thanks for sharing, Danielle. I found it helpful to know that there’s another family doing almost exactly the same thing mine is. When daycare is closed and my husband and I are working from home, this is exactly how we spend our days with our toddler. I think there is a lot of pressure for parents to constantly engage their kids in activities and “learning,” but given the state of things we should not be putting that pressure on ourselves. I think what you all are doing is totally normal and probably typical (for two parents working from home who have toddlers), so sharing helps those of us who are also in this boat feel less alone.

  • Honestly, it’s just really nice to know someone else’s day looks similar to mine. People will say their day is like that, but make it look so different. Even friends. I frequently feel like I must be doing something wrong or totally failing (it shouldn’t be so hard to keep up, right?) …this is a great reassurance that I’m not. Thanks for taking the time to write this post! ❤️

  • Speaking for myself, I enjoy the relatability and -uh- voyeurism that comes from reading day-in-the-life stories. I have two babes under four and toddler play recommendations rarely work for us — what they enjoy one day they take a total pass on the next. What other kids love, mine don’t much care for. All of this to say, I really enjoyed this post because it proves to me there are other out there, just getting through the day however they can, trying to keep themselves sane and fed while entertaining littles! Thanks, Danielle.

  • Totally agree that this was really helpful. I have a 7 month old so always like to see what may be coming down the pike in terms of how our days are structured around sleep / / eat / play. Also very helpful to see how you and Conor structure and coordinate who is “on duty.” Would love to see more of these “day in the life” posts.

  • Always SO. MUCH. LAUNDRY. This post was so relatable! Being home with a toddler all day during winter is tough and it’s nice to hear others are in the same boat! Also relieved to hear someone else talk about TV while eating, my co-worker has done this to get her son to continue eating at mealtime when he’s being fussy and I may need to try it with my 16 month old who’s going through a very picky eating phase right now. There’s so much judgement around the TV, but good to know I’m not the only one with screen time in our routine.

  • Agree with the other comments that this is really nice validation that we’re all mostly doing the same things. Sometimes it can feel like we’re not doing enough or providing enough structure to our days at home. Also nice to see how someone manages to time their day so the kids are in bed by 7:15! We are always stuck laying with our toddler for two more minutes!” 😵‍💫

  • I don’t have kids yet but find this interesting and helpful. Not sure why! Lol. Maybe it gives me a false sense of comfort that I can do it one day? 😉

    Also, for food tips for littles, Kendall at @styledsnapshots has great ideas. Might not be relevant for Margot now, but could help other readers/moms meal plan.

  • Thank you for sharing! I love seeing how you balance two kids and what your day looks like. Thanks again for posting this! 🙂 XOXO! I love your blog and IG!

  • I absolutely loved this so much. As a SAHM sometimes I feel like I’m the only one not doing fancy activities with my kids everyday. I really appreciate another mom having a normal day with her kids. It’s so refreshing to slow down and just be together as a family. Also sounds like you and your husband have an amazing partnership and parenting style!

  • The Danish Way of Parenting would give this day a 10/10. So much togetherness and a massive emphasis on play. You’re doing a great job momma!